FUND RAISING

Opinion No. 10 (1976)*


The National Conference of Metropolitan Judges (composed of trial judges from jurisdictions whose populations exceed 650,000) will hold its annual meeting in Dallas during 1976 and contributions of approximately $20,000 must be obtained to finance the conference.

QUESTION: Since the National Conference of Metropolitan Judges is a professional organization, are we (the local judges participating therein) limited in any manner in soliciting funds? Are there any guidelines under Canon 5B of the Code of Judicial Conduct?

ANSWER: Canon 4C permits a judge to "serve as a member, officer, or director" of an organization, such as the National Conference of Metropolitan Courts. It also provides that a judge may "assist such an organization in raising funds...but (he) should not personally participate in public fund-raising activities." However, Canon 5B(2) manifests the clear prohibition that "A judge should not solicit funds..." as well as the further prohibition that he should not "use or permit the use of the prestige of his office for that purpose...." The intent of the canons, therefore, forbids the solicitation of funds by judges, or the use of the prestige of judicial office for solicitation of funds.
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*Canon 5B(2) was amended effective December 19, 1989.